EWG Report: Is Federal Crop Insurance Policy Leading to a New Dust Bowl?

Source:  Environmental Working Group

Contact:
(202) 667-6982
alex@ewg.org
For Immediate Release:  Wednesday, March 22, 2017

AMES, Iowa – Federal crop insurance policy is rewarding Southern Great Plains farmers’ failure to adapt to drought and hotter weather, and encouraging practices that could lead to another Dust Bowl, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group.

The Dust Bowl that devastated the region in the 1930s was one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. Searing heat and drought, the conversion of more than five million acres of grassland into cropland, and farmers’ failure to adapt to the dry climate inflicted disease, hunger and poverty on the region’s people.

Today drought is once again parching the Southern Plains. Scientists say hot and dry conditions could become the region’s new normal, making it urgent that farmers adapt to the changing climate. Instead, a provision of the federal crop insurance program – snuck into the 2014 Farm Bill with little notice – encourages farmers to plant the same crops in the same way, year after year.

The crop insurance program guarantees that farmers’ earnings from their crops won’t fall below a guaranteed percentage of their usual income. The guarantee is set based on a multi-year average of a farmer’s actual crop yields. Averaging the bad years with the good years grounds the program in reality.

But the new provision, called Actual Production History Yield Exclusion, lets farmers pretend bad years didn’t happen. As many as 15 bad years can be thrown out when calculating the farmer’s average yield, resulting in artificially inflated insurance payouts, year after year. What’s more, the distortion is worst in the very same Southern Plains counties that were hardest hit by the Dust Bowl and are now suffering from severe drought.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Public Lands Issues effect on wildlife and wild horses and burros

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

by Bonnie Kohleriter

Our public lands are now under attack which has enormous consequences for our wild horses and burros and for our wildlife.  The attacks are coming from Trump’s cabinet members, particularly the Dept. of Agriculture and the Dept. of the Interior, and from Congressional Republicans.

First, Rep. Jason Chaffetz R UT, introduced a bill early in January, 2017, to sell off 3.3 M acres of Federal land to states.  With an outcry from conservatives and sports groups, he withdrew that bill.

Then Rep. Jason Chaffetz R UT, introduced a bill later in January, 2017, called the Local Lands Act, wherein Federal law enforcement on our Federal Forest Service (FS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, will be supplanted with State law enforcement with the States being given block grants.  The bill is currently in the Natural Resources Committee: Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry.

Then Rep. Don Young (R) AK, moved a bill, House Joint Resolution 69, through the Congress in February, 2017, wherein the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on Federal Alaskan lands will no longer manage its Federal wildlife, and its Federal wildlife will be managed by the State of Alaska.  Resolution 69 went to the Senate, where Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) AK and Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) AK, moved the resolution through the Senate in March, 2017.

It is concerning as attempts are in process to take away Federal land and give it to the States, to take away Federal law enforcement on Federal lands and give it to the States, and to take away Federal management of Federal wildlife on Federal land and give the management to the States.  What’s next?  In addition to give aways, the Senate voted 51-48 to kill the 2.0 plan which was developed by the Dept. of the Interior.  That plan authorized public lands stakeholders to give input into the use of the land.  The killing of the 2.0 plan is designed to give the local and state governments more control over the Federal public lands for development such as use for businesses.

Now Ken Ivory, a Rep. in the Utah State Legislature, under House Concurrent Resolution 22, is asking the President and Congress to repeal the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 and grant authority and resources to the States to manage feral horse and burro populations within their jurisdictions.  The Legislature and Governor maintain the horses and burros are damaging the rangelands for wildlife and livestock that share the same areas.  This bill would authorize the States to geld the stallions.  Some outspoken ranchers and hunters want our public land for their gains.  The ranchers in Utah have expressed they want to “harvest” (slaughter) the horses and burros like they harvest cattle.

What else is coming?  Environmental groups have identified “Public Lands Enemies.  Interestingly they are all Republicans. They are:

Sen. Mike Lee           Utah    Sen. Lisa Murkowski Al    Rep Mark Amodei        NV

Sen. Orin Hatch        Utah    Sen. Dan Sullivan      AL    Rep Dean Heller           NV

Rep. Rob Bishop       Utah    Rep. Don Young        AL    Rep Tom McClintock   CA

Rep. Jason Chaffetz Utah    Sen. Jeff Flake           AZ     Rep Doug La Malfa      CA

Rep. Chris Stewart    Utah   Rep. Paul Gosar        AZ     Rep Steve Pearce        NM

Rep. Mia Love            Utah   Sen. Barrasso            WY   Rep Raul Labrador       ID

In California, McClintock is from the Central Valley and La Malfa is from NE California.  La Malfa is a 4th generation rice farmer and has received $ 5M in federal commodity subsidies starting in 1995, or on average a quarter of a million dollars every year from the federal government.  Now that’s the real “welfare” food stamps subsidy.

While Republican Congressional Representatives primarily supported by ranchers and hunters in their respective states, wrangle in Congress to take from the Federal government and give to the States, the Wildlife Services within the U.S. Department of Agriculture yearly brutally kills millions of carnivores and omnivores on our public lands to appease the hunters and ranchers.  The hunters claim the carnivores and omnivores kill the herbivores they want to hunt and the ranchers on our public lands claim the carnivores and omnivores kill their livestock.  The killings are brutal: aerial gunning, cyanide poisoning, steel jaw and leg trapping… In 2016 the Ag Dept. Wildlife Services killed 2.7 M animals on our public lands.  415 gray wolves, 77,000 coyotes, 407 black bears, 334 mountain lions, 997 bobcats, 21,000 beavers, 4000 foxes, …

Our public lands are to have a multiple use mandate, but it seems the powerful, monied hunting and ranching lobbies, as well as now, the gas, oil and mining lobbies in Washington are dictating what will go on with our public lands through their elected congressional representatives.  Get involved.  Contact your elected congressional representatives, especially those on the natural resources, agricultural, and appropriations committees in the House and the agricultural, nutrition, forestry, and environmental and public works and appropriations committees in the Senate.  Tell your representatives what it is you want on our public lands.

 

New Zealand Law Now Recognizes Animals As ‘Sentient’ Beings

Source: Hearts of Pets

The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill states that animals can experience including pain and distress…”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

New Zealand has recently changed its law regarding animals.  For a long time, animals have been regarded as nothing more than property. The new law has changed to have them treated as sentient beings with feelings.

The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill states that animals can experience including pain and distress, and should be treated as sentient creatures. Because animals that have been neglected abused, or have separation anxiety, all react in human-like ways.

The hope is that the changes will add more weight to animal abuse cases and see that the perpetrators of these crimes face heavier punishments.  It is hoped that this law will not only to deter people from doing so, but to provide restitution to those animals that have had to suffer.

‘Horrific incident’: Family Speaks Out after Pet Dog Killed by ‘Cyanide Bomb’

By Shelbie Harris as published on The Idaho State Journal

“While at first glance this sad story might not appear to have much to do with wild horses and burros but it most certainly applies, with spades.  Some time ago, myself and fellow investigators from Wild Horse Freedom Federation were documenting BLM Contract long term holding facilities when we came across one contractor’s property, used to house former wild horses, with prominent signs indicating that like poison devices were in use on the very same property that captive wild horses were grazing.  To date, this finding haunts us as we continue to seek ways and means to stop the barbaric removal of protected wild horses and burros from their congressionaly approved, rightful range.” ~ R.T.


Signage on BLM contractor’s property housing former wild horses. (Click to Enlarge) ~ photo by R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

POCATELLO — As he walked his dog along the ridgeline of the hillside just south of his family’s home on West Buckskin Road, 14-year-old Canyon Mansfield noticed what he thought was a sprinkler head protruding 6 inches from the ground.

Like many curious teenagers would, he bent down and touched the pipe, which erupted with a loud popping noise that knocked Canyon off his feet. A hissing sound ensued and Canyon noticed his clothing and face were covered with an orange, powdery substance. After quickly washing his face and clothes in a nearby patch of snow, he called for his dog, a 3-year-old Lab named Casey.

But Canyon’s best friend didn’t respond.

“He just stayed on the ground mumbling,” Canyon said. “I thought he was playing with his toy, but I saw the toy a couple yards away from him. … So, I called him again and got really scared. I sprinted toward him and landed on my knees and saw this red froth coming from his mouth and his eyes turning glassy and he was having a seizure.”

Within minutes, Casey was dead.

“My little brother is lying in bed crying next to me,” said Canyon’s sister, Madison Mansfield. “He spent yesterday in the emergency room after stumbling upon an unmarked cyanide bomb in the woods directly behind my home. He watched his best friend suffocate as sodium cyanide was deposited in his mouth.”

Canyon was taken to Portneuf Medical Center, where he was treated and released. But he must continue daily follow-up appointments to check toxicity levels.

On Thursday afternoon, Casey joined thousands of other non-targeted animals — both wild and domestic — that have been mistakenly killed by one of the most lethal tools at the disposal of the U.S. Department of Agriculture — spring-loaded metal cylinders that are baited with scent that shoot sodium cyanide powder into the mouth or face of whatever or whoever touches them.

Known as M-44 devices, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) division of the USDA deploys these sodium cyanide capsules throughout the West to protect livestock from coyotes, wild dogs, and red and gray foxes.

M-44s are hollow metal tubes 5 to 7 inches long that are driven into the ground, loaded with 0.9 grams of sodium cyanide and coated with the smelliest bait possible…(CONTINUED)

http://www.idahostatejournal.com/outdoors/xtreme_idaho/horrific-incident-family-speaks-out-after-pet-dog-killed-by/article_93f3d07e-6ecb-5035-8d39-f27c791eb4b5.html

14 Quotes Every Animal Advocate Should Know By Heart

Source: One Green Planet

Fighting for animal protection of any kind is often a difficult and seemingly never-ending up high battle. News headlines can reek of despair and fresh petitions crop up daily urging us to end every sort of cruelty imaginable (and in some cases, simply beyond belief).

Truly, issues abound at every corner – from farmed animal abuses to endangered species conservation – and they just always seem to keep on coming.

Yet, victories are possible and many occur each and every year thanks to hardworking nonprofits, grassroots groups, and active citizens.

We have helped a lot of animals even just within the past decade, but as always, there is a long way to go.

To inspire us to keep moving forward, check out the following 14 quotes — all serve to remind us of exactly who we’re fighting for and why, which is something we must never forget. Committing these to memory (or better yet, knowing them by heart!) may just help you regain your strength in times of struggle and reinvigorate your desire to do good for the animals of this Earth.

Click link below to view remainder and to comment:

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/14-quotes-every-animal-advocate-should-know-by-heart/

Feel Good Sunday: Video-Mini Horses Say Goodbye to Winter

“Recently we ran a Mini Video on Feel Good Sunday and received many notes calling for another, so here you go folks.  Old Man Winter is only hours away from succumbing to Spring so it is only fit that the little equines who capture everyone’s heart have a final romp in the snow before the arrival of fresh green grass, flowers and foals.  Have a great and wonderful day where ever you are and never give up on the good fight.  Keep the faith my friends.” ~ R.T.


Yellowstone and Montana are Killing the Last Wild Buffalo

read more at the Buffalo Field Campaign

“Yellowstone National Park — shamefully complicit in Montana’s livestock industry’s war against wild buffalo…”

photo – Buffalo Field Campaign

More than 1,200 of America’s last wild buffalo have been killed this winter, and it isn’t over yet. Hunting along Yellowstone’s boundaries has taken the lives of more than 400 buffalo. Hunters are still in the field making kills. It’s a terrible time of year to hunt. The buffalo — like other wild grazers — have used up all of their fat stores, and are showing ribs and bony hips, waiting for the re-greening of the Earth so they can again replenish their huge bodies. This is also the time of year when the long, harsh winter takes her toll, too. There will be many buffalo who will not survive into spring, but the government is not accounting for these deaths in their mad rush to reduce this most significant and vulnerable population. Further, hunters are still killing adult female buffalo who will begin having their calves in about six weeks. All too often, BFC patrols make heartbreaking discoveries of finding fully-formed baby buffalo in their mother’s gut piles.

Additionally, Yellowstone National Park — shamefully complicit in Montana’s livestock industry’s war against wild buffalo — has captured close to 800 buffalo, all of whom have been or will be sent to slaughter. The trap is emptying quickly, though Yellowstone continues to attempt to capture. Recently, some buffalo have resisted these attempts, while others have not been so lucky. On Monday in Gardiner, BFC patrols documented as five Yellowstone wranglers on horseback tried to trap fifty-five buffalo; all but one got away, running to the hills for their lives. The unfortunate mama buffalo who was trapped caught the attention of another family group of twenty-two. Coming dangerously close to the trap, they sealed their own fate as the wranglers, hungry to capture, took advantage of the situation. Hundreds of wild buffalo are gone forever. BFC’s Mike Mease and Stephany Seay attended the second media tour of Yellowstone’s trap last Thursday, where we again witnessed Yellowstone park rangers, wranglers, and biologists doing the service of the Montana Department of Livestock as they loaded wild buffalo onto stock trailers headed for the slaughterhouse, then proceeded to move more through the trap. It has become business as usual for these buffalo abusers, just another day in the park. They tell us that they don’t like doing this, that they want slaughter to end, but their actions say something else. Yellowstone National Park is not without significant power, but they have shown they are without courage. They can stand up to Montana and refuse to participate. But they don’t. Their cold routine of capturing, testing, sorting, and shipping the country’s national mammal to a horrific death — as they don the image of this sacred being on their uniforms and rake in millions from the people who come to adore them — has become just another day at work. They attempt to put the task of change on the public, shirking responsibility for their part in these crimes. While it is true that a current Montana law – MCA 81-2-120 — is the driver behind the cumulative mismanagement plans and practices, Yellowstone should not have the luxury of of passing the buck. The world’s most well-known national park has astounding influence that they choose not to use. Instead, they kill America’s last wild buffalo. By the end of March, this should all be over.

Please continue to keep pressure on Montana and Yellowstone. Do not ease up. Be relentless and don’t accept their excuses. Laws, decisions, and management plans can be changed.
* Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk 307-344-2002
* Montana Governor Steve Bullock 406-444-3111

And contact your members of Congress to tell them that this must end once and for all. Congress holds the purse strings and can end the funding…(CONTINUED)

http://buffalofieldcampaign.org/bfc-news/yellowstone-and-montana-are-killing-the-last-wild-buffalo

Yellowstone & Montana Can Stop the Bison Slaughter Today

Source: The Buffalo Field Campaign

“Most people who reach these decision-makers are meeting with frustration; being told lies in condescending tones by the governor’s office that Yellowstone is responsible for the slaughter while Yellowstone officials say that it’s all Montana’s fault and there is nothing they can do to stop it.”

This winter’s Yellowstone buffalo death toll has breached one thousand, and continues to climb. Counting the few hundred still trapped inside Yellowstone’s Stephens Creek capture facility and the continued hunting pressures just outside the park, the government agencies will likely surpass their goal of killing 1,300 ecologically extinct wild, migratory buffalo. This does not even include the significant number of buffalo deaths due natural causes from the severe winter. Hundreds of thousands of people are seeing and sharing BFC’s stories and images of Yellowstone’s shameful crimes against wild buffalo. These actions are being conducted with your tax dollars on behalf of Montana’s livestock industry.

This morning BFC will be attending a second “media tour” inside the trap. The atrocious actions we’re witnessing and documenting continue despite thousands, if not tens of thousands, of calls, emails, and letters to Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk and Montana Governor Steve Bullock. Most people who reach these decision-makers are meeting with frustration; being told lies in condescending tones by the governor’s office that Yellowstone is responsible for the slaughter while Yellowstone officials say that it’s all Montana’s fault and there is nothing they can do to stop it. As the number of slaughtered buffalo climbs due to their actions, these same decision-makers toss up their hands in mock helplessness. However, they are both responsible and they can both take immediate and necessary actions today to end this senseless war against wild buffalo. These decision-makers work collaboratively within the Interagency Bison Management Plan to devise and carry out agreed upon management schemes, and their deceptive, pass-the-buck strategy of shirking of responsibility is pushing the country’s last continuously wild buffalo herds towards the brink of extinction.

Please continue to make these calls! If you are outside of the U.S., send letters and emails. Be relentless and don’t accept their excuses.
Phone calls are the most effective because they cannot be ignored.

  • Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk, #307-344-2002
  • Montana Governor Steve Bullock #406-444-3111

Here are some important points to consider – No agency’s hands are tied!

  • The Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) is an *adaptive* plan that allows for change, and part of its goal is to “maintain a wild, free-ranging population of bison.” Capture-for-slaughter is not set in stone. Each agency consents (agrees) to any management strategy set forth in the IBMP, meaning that Yellowstone could object to capture-for-slaughter. Any agency, at any time, can pull out of the IBMP.
  • The Interagency Bison Management Plan has expired, and a new plan is now being considered. Yellowstone and Montana need to endorse a plan that respects wild bison like wild elk in Montana.
  • Montana Governor Steve Bullock can issue an executive order to stop Yellowstone’s slaughter. He has done so in the past, as recently as this winter, and can do it again at any time.
  • Montana Governor Steve Bullock can take action to repeal state law MCA 81-2-120 to remove the authority of the Montana Department of Livestock over wild bison when they migrate into Montana.
  • Montana’s livestock industry is a vocal minority. Nearly 75% of Montanans have repeatedly expressed that they want wild, migratory buffalo to be restored in their native Montana.
  • Wild bison are not overpopulated. In fact, they are ecologically extinct throughout their native range. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature have classified the American buffalo as “threatened with near extinction” while the state of Montana recognizes wild, migratory bison as “vulnerable to global extinction.”
  • Wild bison have never transmitted the cattle bacteria brucellosis back to cattle. Only under human-manipulated conditions have any such transmissions occurred. Elk, who are free to roam as they please, have been implicated numerous times in brucellosis transmissions to livestock in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.

The one thing — the most important thing — that is never considered by decision-makers is the buffalo’s perspective. This failure enables the human managers responsible for the slaughter to make the decisions they make and carry out the abuses that they do. Wild buffalo have walked the earth for tens of thousands of years. The planet chose them, through millions of years of evolution, to be the creators and caretakers of the grasslands and prairies. The buffalo are our elders, our relatives on this earth. They are not some presence who has suddenly appeared and become a “problem” that humans must manage to death. They do not make mistakes. Humans do. Buffalo were chosen for the job that they do: walking the earth, gently eating the grass, tilling the soil, carrying the seeds, fertilizing the earth, creating habitats for other species, awakening water underground in the aquifers to help bring the rains, and to offer their abundant bodies as food and nourishment for not just humans, but for other predators and scavengers alike–for the land herself. They possess ancient wisdom that has been carried through their memories and blood lines since buffalo time began. They adopt orphans. They mourn the dead. They carry their young in their wombs for nine months. They teach the young. They care for the elderly. They play. They become frightened. They find comfort. They tend to each other. They teach us to be family. They want to live. Once upon a time we listened to them. We have forgotten to listen. The people who cause the buffalo so much suffering have become deaf and blind to their teachings. They have to, or they could not do what they do. But the buffalo are still here, still sharing their wisdom, still offering themselves. But the buffalo have that kind of patience, if they can survive this human culture, they will be there waiting for us to catch up.

WILD IS THE WAY ~ ROAM FREE!

http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/bfc-news/yellowstone-montana-can-stop-the-slaughter-today

Animal Protection Groups Commend Bill to Ban Dog and Cat Meat in the United States

Source: International Humane Society PR

“This story walks hand-in-hand with our discussion on Wild Horse and Burro Radio last night” ~ R.T.

Bill also shines a light on brutal trade in China and South Korea

Little Ricky, a dog rescued from the Yulin dog meat festival in 2015, plays in U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings’ office in Washington, DC. Kevin Wolf/AP Images for HSI

U.S. Representatives Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., Dave Trott, R-Mich. and Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., have introduced legislation to ban the dog and cat meat trade in the United States, earning applause from Humane Society International, The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund. The bill, the Dog and Cat Meat Prohibition Act of 2017, would amend the U.S Animal Welfare Act to prohibit the slaughter and trade of dogs and cats for human consumption, and would provide penalties for individuals involved in the dog or cat meat trade.

HSI is one of the leading organizations campaigning across Asia to end the dog meat trade that sees around 30 million dogs a year killed for human consumption. It’s a trade that subjects dogs to horrifying treatment and raises serious human health concerns for traders and consumers alike, all for a type of meat that relatively few people eat on a regular basis. Similar problems face an untold number of cats. In the United States, the dog and cat meat industry is limited. The new bill will prevent domestic trade and imports, and serve as an important symbol of unity with countries and regions such as Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Taiwan that have dog meat bans in place.

Kelly O’Meara, director of companion animals and engagement for HSI, said: “The dog and cat meat trade is immensely cruel, so much so that many Asian countries have bans in place. This bill prevents the dog and cat meat trade from taking hold in the United States, but it also shines a spotlight on those countries where this brutal industry is not yet outlawed and where action is desperately needed.”

O’Meara adds: “Through our work in China, South Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia, we are urging policy makers to take decisive steps to end the trade. A similar law here in the United States would show important solidarity with those that have already enacted bans and inspire more to join the cause. We applaud Congressmen Hastings, Buchanan, Trott and Boyle for introducing this bill and their commitment to ending this brutal trade.”

Last year, and again this year, Congressman Hastings introduced a Congressional Resolution condemning China’s Yulin dog meat festival. Dog meat traders in China launched the festival in 2010 to increase sales, but popular outcry, both internationally and within China, has dramatically reduced the scope of the festival that takes place every year during the summer solstice. HSI and its Chinese partner groups have been on the ground every year to uncover the cruelty of the festival, and to stop the illegal transport of dogs into Yulin. Last year, HSI and its local partners rescued 170 dogs and cats from slaughterhouses on the outskirts of Yulin and transported them to the US, UK and Canada for adoption.

“Many people would be shocked to learn that it is still legal to slaughter dogs and cats for the purpose of human consumption in 44 states,” said Congressman Hastings. “This legislation will prohibit these practices and unify the animal cruelty laws across our country by explicitly prohibiting the slaughter and consumption of our most beloved companions. I am proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fight against these cruel and inhumane practices.”

Facts:

  • In China, HSI works alongside Chinese groups to rescue dogs from trucks bound for the dog meat markets, uncover the immense cruelty that takes place at the slaughterhouses, and draw attention to the plight of the animals.
  • In South Korea, thousands of dog farms throughout the country rear an estimated 2.5 million dogs each year for human consumption. HSI has worked with six farmers since 2015 to shut down their farms and rescue 770 dogs. By helping farmers transition into humane trades, HSI is demonstrating that a government-led dog meat farm phase out is possible and desired by many farmers in the industry.

For more information visit hsi.org/dogmeat

Media Contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras, rcontreras@humanesociety.org, 301-721-6440

For US supporter inquiries: call 866-614-4371 or fill out our contact form

US Activist’s Efforts to Rescue Dogs from Asia’s Meat Trade Draw Both Praise and Censure

by Susan Pi as published on Earth Island Journal

“Here at SFTHH and WHFF we are all about the safety and future well being of wild horses and burros but of course that concern extends to domestic equine and all wildlife in general.  You will see articles appear hear that speak to the uncalled for slaughter and/or abuse of bison, wolves, bears, coyotes, mountain lion and the case of today’s article, domestic dogs.

I spent the past six years rotating in and of China on a monthly basis and unfortunately my eyes have witnessed acts of cruelty that I would prefer to forget versus regurgitating.  But everyday is a bad day for any sort of domestic animal who lives in rural China and I have witnessed the worst.  Although I might have been able to influence the educated young nationals who worked with me it was beyond my ability to influence the actions of rural farmers; all I could do was to divert my gaze and pray for an end to the suffering of the affected animal.  It is a cultural thing as there is little respect for human life so how can one expect the culture to respect animal pain and suffering, the mind set just is not there.

So today, stroke the head of your bird, cat, dog, horse or donkey and remind yourself how lucky they are to have you in their lives and how special a ingredient they are to your daily diet of goodness and how they enhance your spiritual well being.

We are all connected and we are all fellow passengers on this spaceship Earth.  A little courtesy to others goes a long, long way.  Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.


“You will never see, in my opinion, anything more brutal than the dog meat trade,”

Photo courtesy of Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation. Ching is aware that there are many who disagree with what he’s doing, but he believes his foundation can make a difference in the lives of thousands of dogs.

When a family in Korea discovered their beloved dog, Cheom Hwa, had been stolen, they were inconsolable. The German Shepherd had been with them since she was a puppy. “She is like my family,” the daughter says to Marc Ching, founder of Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation. “I am the only child so she was like my sister.”

It’s a nightmare no dog owner wants to have to go through. In Korea, where Cheom Hwa’s family lives, millions of dogs are stolen every year for their meat, and many are suspected to be stolen pets.

“The dog meat trade is big business,” Ching tells Earth Island Journal. “China exports meat to Korea. Cambodia exports to Vietnam.”

Ching, an American animal nutritionist who runs an organic pet food company in California, first heard about the Yulin dog meat festival that’s held every year in southern China only two years ago. The stories sounded so horrific that he had a hard time believing they were true. When he flew to China to see for himself what was going on, the atrocities turned out to be even worse. “What they’re doing is beyond inhumane,” Ching says. “It’s pure evil. They’ll boil dogs alive, hang and skin them alive.”

Today, Ching is most known for going undercover into slaughterhouses. By posing as a meat buyer, Ching often manages to get access to the kill floor where cages of whimpering animals are stacked on top of one another. The owner, hoping to make a sale, proudly talks up the facility, explaining their slaughtering process and how many dogs they go through on any given day. All the while, an iPhone in Ching’s pocket remains on video mode, surreptitiously recording everything.

If he’s caught, best-case scenario: He loses his phone. A previous trip to Vietnam ended with him beaten and nearly killed.

For Ching, the risk is worth it, even if too many of the dogs end up dying on the way to the veterinary hospital. Most are already close to death by the time he gets to them. In an interview with LA Weekly, he talks about coming across a dog with all four of her legs cut off. She died in his arms.

“You will never see, in my opinion, anything more brutal than the dog meat trade,” Ching says.

In the years since his first trip to China, he’s witnessed more than his share of unimaginable cruelty. The horror doesn’t deter him; it’s more like gasoline poured onto a smoldering flame urging him to save as many as he can. But while many activists are fueled into action by anger, Ching fervently believes that compassion is the key to lasting change.

“Even the people killing animals who, to me, aren’t good people,” Ching says, “I still try to be compassionate toward them. I think compassion wins in most cases and that’s what we do out in these countries. It’s all about compassion.”

Ching’s philosophy is evident with every trip back to Asia. He often works with locals, building his trip around the information they tell him. Before he steps onto a plane, he already knows who to talk to and where to go. For instance, in early 2017, locals in Korea helped to arrange a meeting with the owner of a slaughterhouse. This isn’t an undercover mission. The man knows that Ching wants to shut down his business.

Photo courtesy of Animals Asia. A dog meat market in Yulin, China. Several China-based animal welfare groups have asking international animal rights activists to stop buying dogs bound for the meat market saying that purchasing dogs only encourages the black market dog meat trade.

With the help of a local translator, Ching makes his appeal. “There’s a push against what you’re doing,” he tells him. “Whether it happens today, next year, or five years, you’ll be out of business soon. I’d like to work with you to stop what you’re doing and give you a chance at a decent living that doesn’t involve harming animals.”

The conversation is one Ching has had before with other slaughterhouse owners. His foundation’s economic development program is an attempt to build a viable model to affect far-reaching change. With enough successful cases, he hopes the Chinese government will someday take it over.

When asked about the people who slaughter dogs for a living, Ching recalls a man in Cambodia running a smaller operation that slaughters 50 to 100 dogs a day. “This guy sold his two daughters into prostitution. One of his daughters was four years old. I think he’s a terrible guy but he told me he didn’t choose to do this. He had to feed his family somehow and he became a dog slaughterer.”

It isn’t easy for Ching to sit across men who commit such horrific acts. Those who get into the business for money tend to be receptive, but there are always exceptions.

“In a slaughterhouse in Indonesia,” Ching says, “they hang dogs off these hooks and torture them. This guy is very popular for what he does because people come there believing the meat has healing powers. He’ll say, ‘I help people live better. I cure diseases like cancer.’ This guy will never close because he really believes in what he’s doing.”…(CONTINUED)

http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/us_activists_efforts_to_rescue_dogs_from_asias_meat_trade_draw_both_praise_/